His Incredible Nature: All Knowing

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2011 by soaringlikeeagles

In Isaiah the 40th chapter, the prophet asks many rhetorical questions, they are as follows:

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding (Isaiah 40:12-14 NASB)?”

Isaiah is making a bold statement here, saying that the Lord is all knowing. He is the only one who has understanding in all categories. Isaiah is stating that the Lord has always been, and always will be (Isaiah 41:4). He is saying that the Lord is the creator of all things (Isaiah 40:28), and as such, He is omniscient (all knowing). As the creator of the worlds, He knows and understands everything about His creation. From the measurement of the waters (Isaiah 40:12), to the numbers of the stars (Isaiah 40:26), there is nothing that escapes His notice; there is nothing that occurs without His acknowledgement of it.

The question we must ask ourselves is, are these statements true? Is the God in the scriptures, the God of Isaiah really the only One who is omniscient? Does His understanding really surpass all comprehension as Isaiah mentions (Isaiah 40:28)? Let me suggest to you that He really is all knowing. God has revealed to us through His inspired Word MANY scientific facts before even man has discovered them. I hope you will take some time to look at these proofs of God’s incredible omniscience.

The Earth Being Spherical:

Before it was made known to man that the earth was a sphere, ancient peoples thought the earth to be many different shapes. There were some who thought earth to be a flat disc surrounded by the ocean. Some thought the earth to be an inverted bowl shape, or there were some such as the Egyptians who believed the earth to be square in shape. Man has had some interesting thoughts as to how the earth is shaped before it was discovered that the earth was circular in shape, but God’s Word has known well before scientist have found this to be a fact. Proverbs 8:27 says, “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a CIRCLE on the face of the deep…” also in Job 26:10, it says, “He has inscribed a CIRCLE on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness.” We can also look at Isaiah, in the same chapter we are studying, he says, “It is He who sits above the CIRCLE of the earth…(Isaiah 40:22)” The Lord knew about the earth being spherical before man’s small mind could even grasp the idea.

Paths of the Sea:

In Psalm 8:8, it says, “The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.” Until Matthew Fontaine Maury (mid nineteenth century), did we as humans really grasp the idea of there being literal paths in the sea, or currents within the oceans. Here was a man who was inspired by the Words of the Lord, to find these “paths of the seas” and he did. Matthew Maury only lived a little over a century before our time, and yet the scriptures have known of this fact for thousands of years.

Circumcision on the 8th Day:

Have you ever wondered why the Lord commanded the Israelites to circumcise their baby boys the eighth day after birth (Genesis 17:10-12)? It almost seems strange, some of the rules the Lord had commanded His people to obey. When you look at the rules He laid down for them to keep, it sometimes makes you think that all God was to the Israelites was a domineering God, who only laid down the rules to force His people to obey Him in strange ways, and circumcision was one of those rules. Why on earth would you circumcise on the eighth day? Well, scientists did not know this until the recent past. The answer is that on the eighth day of a child’s life, Vitamin K and Prothrombim reach their highest levels and create the highest amount of blood clotting in a human’s life, whereas before that point, the baby is at the greatest danger of dying from blood loss. It is amazing to think that our Lord knew all these things well before scientists could even dream about them.

Rules of Cleanliness:

On that note, I’m almost sure that the Israelites thought the same things. I’m sure they were asking themselves, “Why on earth does He want me to do this?” And the methods of cleanliness were probably one of those issues they were faced. We are at a great advantage today, for we know of the dangers of bacteria and germs that cause diseases thanks to men like Louis Pasteur.Even men during Pasteur’s time thought him to be crazy, but would anyone dare to call him crazy today? Absolutely not, and yet so many today contradict the words of the Lord, calling them unreliable. Just look at the Lord’s Words and you will find sensible rules pertaining to bacteria that any learned person would agree with. God told the Israelites to clean themselves by washing their body and clothes when they touched any unclean animal (Leviticus 11:23-24). Or with dead animals and insects they were to clean themselves and the articles of clothing or household items as well. In fact, some items were to be disposed of (Leviticus 11:29-40). There are also laws concerning quarantine. In Leviticus 13 the Lord commands that the one with leprosy be kept separate from other people until the leprosy has left the body. There were also antibacterial substances used, in Numbers 19:18; they are commanded to use Hyssop. Hyssop today is used to help many different medical conditions. It is also interesting to remember that the people who were considered the most medically advanced minds of those times were the Egyptians, who used dung as a wound healer.

Noah’s Ark:

When considering the ark, it is easy to think of it as an old children’s story. All the animals came on board, and Noah and his family are cruising along safely with the rainbow behind them. Well, when one looks at the dimensions of the ark, it is easy to see that this was more than a children’s story. The omniscience of God was what saved Noah and his family. When building a boat, one has to keep in mind its draft. The draft of a boat usually is half of the boat’s height. Therefore the boat will usually rest in water at about half its height. Well let’s look at the dimensions of Noah’s ark. The Lord commanded that he should make “the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits (Genesis 6:15).” So, what is the significance of this? Nothing, unless you look on further. Let’s read Genesis 7:20, “The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.” What did we say the draft of a boat was? Half of its height. What was the height of the ark? Thirty cubits, that would make its draft fifteen cubits. The Lord knew exactly how much room the ark would need to float in order to keep His people and the animals on board safe from capsizing.

So what have we found? That God is omniscient, all knowing as the prophet Isaiah has suggested. The Lord has known scientific facts well before man had even been able to dream about them. Man has elevated himself so high. We have thought of ourselves as the answers to everything. We have thought in the past that the earth was another shape than circular; we have thought that one would be alright without washing his hands before continuing to a procedure on a different patient. We have thought that putting animal dung on a wound would heal it. Yet we have been humbled over and over again by thinking our way is the right way. So many times we think of the scriptures as a book of religion, but what is it really? It is truth. Yes it has all we need to gain a true life, but everything in it is truth, all the way down to the scientific facts that we have so recently discovered on this earth, and yet the Lord and His Word have proved themselves true in all categories.

What do I want you to take from this? I have based this series of the Lord and His Incredible Nature, from Isaiah 40:31, which states that if we only hope and trust in the Lord with all our hearts, we will gain strength beyond comprehension. By looking at the Lord and His omniscience, we see that we really can trust in the Lord, He has always been right, and He will always be right. All we have to do is humble ourselves, wait on Him, trust in Him, and obey Him. Then and only then we will be blest by our Lord and receive the strength which He promised to those who wait on Him.

For more information, here are some sources I used and would recommend:

His Incredible Nature: Eternal

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2011 by soaringlikeeagles

We left last week’s blog pondering the idea of God, what is His nature truly like? The God of the prophet Isaiah who claims that if we wait on Him, trust in Him fully, He will make us stronger than we could ever imagine (Isaiah 40:31). What is His nature like and how can He be as incredible as the prophet Isaiah claims He is? Well, let me suggest to you that one of the reasons He is as incredible as He is because He is eternal.

Eternal… something we cannot grasp with our human minds. Eternal is a state of being with no beginning and no end. He is immortal; He always has been and always will be. We as humans cannot possibly understand this concept. All have a beginning, and all have an end when it comes to living on this earth. Ever since the time that Adam committed the first sin, death has been in existence (Romans 5:12-14). We all suffer the pains and agony of death because of the sin in our lives. This death is what causes an eternity impossible to grasp. But yet, God is eternal. Isaiah himself talks about the mortality of man, verses the immortality of God when he says, “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:6-8).” He then says, when confronting the ideology of the Israelites that they can escape the judgment of God, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth (Isaiah 40:28).” Isaiah himself states that both the Lord and His word are everlasting and that man is not. Man is here for a moment, like a beautiful flower, but like a beautiful flower, man is also very fragile and has a very short life, but the Lord lives forever.

How can we know this to be the truth? How can we know for sure that God is who Isaiah says He is? How can we test whether He is really eternal, or not? It is hard to test this, for one thing, we see the evidences of God all around us through His creation, but we cannot see Him directly. But, what did Isaiah also say is eternal? Isaiah said that God’s word is eternal (Isaiah 40:8). What about His Word, is it eternal? Has it withstood the test and power of time, which has since the time man has sinned, overpowered the human race?

Josh McDowell, in his book, “The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict” has investigated the reliability of the scriptures. When talking about the reliability of the New Testament, he has shown that more than five thousand, six hundred and eighty-six Greek manuscripts of the New Testament have been found. Also, there have been more than ten thousand Latin Vulgate manuscripts of the New Testament’s writing found, as well as at least nine thousand, three hundred other versions found. Bringing the sum total of New Testament manuscripts above twenty-five thousand, which have been found.

This is great evidence for the everlasting and reliable nature of the Word of God, especially when compared to other ancient manuscripts found which many deem as highly reliable.  McDowell gives a list of ancient writers and their manuscripts found. Let’s take a look at some of them, and compared these to the Word of God:

Homer’s Iliad:

Written: 800 B. C.

Number of manuscripts found: 643

 Herodotus:

Written: 480-425 B. C.

Number of manuscripts found: 8

Plato:

Written: 400 B. C.

Number of manuscripts found: 7

Demosthenes:

Written: 300 B. C.

Number of manuscripts found: 200

Caesar’s Gallic Wars:

Written: A. D. 100-44

Number of manuscripts found: 10

Tacitus’ Annals:

Written: A. D. 100

Number of manuscripts found: 20

Now look at these as compared to the manuscripts found of the New Testament. The most found was of Homer, which was six hundred and forty-three manuscripts, whereas the manuscripts, which have been found of the New Testament, have been counted to over twenty-five thousand. Clearly this shows validity and trustworthiness upon the Lord’s Word, as well as showing His providential care towards His Word, in the fact that He has made a way for His Word to continue on, withstanding the test of time. It is also interesting to note that many of the great philosophers, such as Plato, have barely any manuscripts (7 to be exact) to show it’s true reliability. It has also been said (taking a look away from the ancient manuscripts discussed above) that if you took all of the quotations of scripture, given by the early church fathers, that you would compose nearly all of the New Testament scriptures by themselves.

What about Isaiah, though? Has Isaiah’s word, which was directed by the Lord’s hands, kept reliable through the years? Have we found documents that prove that this part of God’s Word has also withstood the test of time? There is perhaps no greater evidence to prove this than that of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These manuscripts were discovered between 1947 and 1956. These manuscripts date from the third century B. C. to the first century A. D. The significant part about these manuscripts is that they solidify the information given in much later dated manuscripts of its kind. Again, just showing the providential way in which the Lord has preserved His Word through the years. The interesting part though, is that these Dead Sea Scrolls contain many fragments that represent every single book of the Old Testament, excluding Esther, and it also contained the whole book written by the man we are talking about, Isaiah. The very man who said that the Lord’s Word was everlasting. His book was the only one completely preserved in this finding of ancient manuscripts.

Yes, it is amazing to see God’s providential hand at work. As the prophet Isaiah said, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of God stands forever.” Some how, some way God has been able to guide His Word from man’s hands, to us who are living today. How do you ask? Because a God who is eternal Himself, is also able to guide whatever He wants to live forever. Not only has he made this promise about His Word, but He has also made this promise to those who will obey Him. In Hebrews 5:9, it says, “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” We, as it says in Romans 6:23, will have that eternal life promised us if we choose to obey God, rather than continuing in our sins.

The God Isaiah talked about is the same God who is able to give us this life eternal with Him. As He is eternal, so shall we be if we chose to obey Him and wait on Him. As I said in the last blog post, this part of His nature is a small part, but at the same time incredible.

As the prophet Isaiah says, “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31).” If we chose to believe in Him, obey Him and trust Him with all of our hearts, we will be rewarded in this life, and in the one to come with an eternal life in the presence of His glory.

Waiting on the Lord (His Incredible Nature)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2011 by soaringlikeeagles

It is interesting to think of survivors. There are different types of survivors, or maybe I should say “champions,” those who persevere and win the task at hand. You have those underdogs, who come out on top and surprise the whole world by winning a championship. There are also literal survivors, such as those who survive being lost in the wilderness, or POW’s who brave through the inhuman trial of torture and imprisonment from their enemy who come out on top and survive the disasters thrown upon them. These I would label as “champions,” and I would have to guess you would agree with me on this statement. The question we have though is, what caused them to be “champions?” What caused them to be “survivors?” Let me suggest to you that the right attitude is what caused this. When you look at “champions,” what is the one common trait they have? The answer is simple, the right attitude.

Isaiah 40:31 says, “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (NASB). Here, the prophet Isaiah is talking about the spiritual “champion,” the spiritual “survivor.” How is he labeled as a champion though? It is because he is waiting on the Lord. What does this word “wait” mean? He is not talking about talking about waiting up on someone because you have outrun him. He is not talking about waiting on a table. He is using the word “wait” to convey the idea of hope, looking eagerly, or expecting, or as James Swanson says, to “look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial.”  The word “wait” is conveying the idea of hope and trust. Like the survivors and champions mentioned above, here too, Isaiah is saying that in order to be a “champion,” you need to have the right attitude. Here is an individual who cannot take the trials given him from the world on his own, but with the hope and trust that he has in the Lord almighty, he will become that “survivor” and that “champion” Isaiah mentions.  He trusts completely in the Lord’s mighty hand, he really expects the great outcome that is promised him. If he does this, he will be blessed, He “will mount up with wings like eagles,” he “will run and not get tired,” and he “will walk and not become weary.”

What a wonderful thought that is, to be able to have that much trust in something. So much so that you are eagerly expecting the right outcome. To be able to survive this evil world is a thought that at times seems too good to be true. This is the problem that we are faced with. Does this seem to good to be true to you? Are you looking for happiness? Are you looking for something better but just cannot find it? Are you looking for a way to survive? All this talk about waiting, or trusting in the Lord, and he will give us strength sounds amazing, but perhaps at the same time it sounds impossible.

Perhaps this is you, you want that peace but you cannot trust it, because you do not trust in the nature of this God Isaiah is talking about. That is what the hope is for this blog, to mend the thought of this God who sounds so great, but at the same time, impossible. We need to learn the nature of this God, the God who the prophet Isaiah clams is able to make you soar like an eagle, and to gain strength beyond comprehension. This God who can make you a “survivor” and a “champion” against the harshness of this world.

This is what I plan on doing these next few weeks, investigating God, and learning about His nature, and how He can make us true “champions.” I hope you will be able to drop by next week on Friday, July 8th to see just a small, yet incredible part of His nature.

Knowing Your Purpose

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2011 by soaringlikeeagles

Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. The 20th of Maine was defending the extreme left flank of the Union line. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was in command of this group of volunteers, and there was a lot at stake. Being at the extreme left flank of the Union line, Col. Chamberlain and his men were at the most vulnerable location, and great reliance was held upon their shoulders to keep the enemy from flanking the Union line, and in actuality, maintain any chance of the Union winning the war.

Chamberlain and his men, understood this great responsibility given to them. So, they fought. Onslaught after onslaught, the Confederates attacked. But the line held strong. With every attack though, the line continued to grow weaker. Casualties continued to increase, and ammunition continued to grow smaller and smaller. Col. Chamberlain, knowing his duty to maintain the Union line, and that he and his men could not hold out another attack, gave the drastic command, “Bayonets!” The men fixed their bayonets, and at the command of Chamberlain, ran down the hill, not knowing whether their enemy knew that they were out of ammunition or not. They did this, and were successful, capturing around 400 men, and securing the union line. 

Chamberlain and his men knew they had a purpose, and that purpose was to secure the rest of the Union line, and for that matter, the rest of the Union army. What did these volunteers do with this purpose in mind? They fought till the end. They fought until they had practically nothing other than their bayonets. Thanks to Chamberlain, and the rest of the Regiment’s valiant efforts, the Union line was secure, and the Union went on to win the battle, as well as the war.

Do you know your purpose? I hope that, like the 20th of Maine, you have volunteered into the army. But unlike Chamberlain and his men, this is a spiritual army. Like them though, we to have a purpose, and that is to defend our brothers and sisters (Galatians 6:2). We are also to defend ourselves (1 Peter 5:8). And we are also to defend God’s Word (1 Peter 3:15).

If we do this, like the 20th of Maine, we too will gain the victory. Chamberlain and his men knew they had a purpose, and they acted on that realization. What will you do? Will you, like them, fight until the bitter end? Or will you let the enemy overtake you? Chamberlain had great courage, and honor, and he realized his purpose. We must realize ours, and fight to the very end, and, like the 20th of Maine, we will win the battle.

Are You Thankful?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2011 by soaringlikeeagles

There is a women I know, that tells the story of her father, who fought in Vietnam. She tells of her father coming home from war with the other soldiers. I do not know if you have ever seen a group of soldiers coming home from after fighting in a war. The sight of it is very heart warming. For the man I am talking about though, it was not. For those of you who know much history at all, you will know that the soldiers who fought in Vietnam were not treated well at all when they came back to their country who they risked their life and limb for. When this man came home, he and all the other soldiers, were ridiculed, and spat upon when going through the airport.  The mental pain was so great, that he went home, he took his uniform off, which a soldier should wear proudly, and threw it in the attic. The uniform collected so much spit, that when he found it in the attic, some time later, it was covered in mold.

To think of the complete and utter hatred that the men and women of America had for their soldiers is heart breaking. Just one simple “thank you” would suffice, but we in our ungrateful nature, dishonored both our fallen and living soldiers. Many of us look at the men and women who did this with contempt, but do not many of us do the same? Has not Christ given up both likeness to the father, something that can not even be grasped by the human mind, and also his physical life for us (Philippians 2:6-8)? Yet, we do not give him half the thanks that he deserves. Jesus, like this brave and selfless soldier, gave His all for us, and yet we choose to ridicule and spit upon the Man who gave his all for us, every time we sin. Every time we set Him upon that cross again. Not only do we do this when we sin, but also when we pray. Many times we only come to Him with our wants, not our thanksgiving. When was the last time you came to Him with just a simple thank you? Please, take the time to thank your Savior.

 

True Discipleship

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2011 by soaringlikeeagles

Within the book of Acts is found the manner in which the first century church lived. The book is a great way to see how we as Christians should live our lives. It is full of very courageous individuals, willing to be all they could be for Christ. These men and women saw their responsibility to be true and effective disciples of Christ. With this in mind, let’s ask ourselves a question: what is true discipleship? When looking at the examples given in Acts, there are a few qualities, among many, that come to mind.

The first quality of discipleship is Humbleness. When looking at this quality, Peter stands out as an example. Peter could do many miraculous works. He had the ability to give away spiritual gifts. He brought countless souls to Christ, and was chosen by Christ himself to be an apostle. And yet, he was still exceptionally humble. In Acts 10, Peter is confronted with worship from Cornelius, and commands him to stop, saying, “I too am just a man” (Acts 10:25-26).  Peter showed humbleness through his actions, why? Because he knew he had a responsibility to his Lord.

The second quality is Obedience. Ananias was an obedient disciple. If you read my blog a few weeks ago, then you remember that he showed great courage through his obedience to the Lord. He was commanded by the Lord to go to the man that had done great harm to the church, though persecution. Yet Ananias showed great obedience by going to him, and baptizing him (Acts 9:11-18).

The third quality of discipleship is Faithfulness. The disciples, within the documents of Acts, were severely persecuted. They were persecuted through mockery, beatings and death (e.g. Acts 2:13; 4:1-3; 4:16-21; 7:58-60). Yet the true disciples stood faithful to the Lord through all of this.

The fourth quality of discipleship is Love. One of the best examples of this is Stephen. Stephen was judged, beaten and killed because of his teaching of the good news. While the wicked crowed was stoning him, Stephen’s last words were “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:58-60). Stephen was not thinking about himself while being stoned, but these lost sinful men, and that is true love, the kind of love a true disciple should have.

As a disciple of Christ, I hope that I can stand firm against the attacks that come in this life, and I hope the same for you. I hope that we who are saved can be humble, obedient, faithful and loving. For these are some very general, yet important, qualities of a true disciple. We as disciples must be following in the steps of the one who saved us. Jesus, our great savior and King had all of these qualities, and we must follow in His ways. Let us strive each and every day to walk as He did, and be true disciples of Him.

 

Becoming a Champion

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2011 by soaringlikeeagles

The Green Bay Packers proved themselves to be champions last Sunday. What made them champions? Some would say talent, power, endurance and determination. In the world’s eyes, champions are groups like the Packers, San Francisco Giants and the Las Angeles Lakers. All of these teams have proved themselves to be champions, and they all did this through these qualifications. In order to be a champion, you have to fight like a champion.

Paul wanted Timothy to have this same mindset. He wanted Timothy to become a champion. When looking at Paul’s words to Timothy, we gain very valuable advice on becoming a champion in God’s eyes. Paul told Timothy to “fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 1:8 NASB). He knew that in order to be a champion, you have to fight like one.

There are three qualifications of champion:

1. In order to be a champion, you must pray… Paul wanted the church to be people of prayer. As Christians, we are to pray for all (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We are to pray for our families, our friends, our church family, those outside of the church, and our country leaders. We must be people of prayer.

2. In order to be a champion, you must act your part in the church… Paul says that he is writing to Timothy to show him “how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God” (1 Timothy 3:15).  Paul shows throughout the book, how elders, deacons, widows, and the youth are to behave, as an individual, and toward one another (1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:1-22). In all these cases we are to live our lives with honor, toward God and each other.

3. In order to be a champion, you must be dedicated to scripture… As Christians we are to have a love for learning the word, we are to teach the word to both the lost, and the saved, encouraging the saved to stay true to the word. We are also to defend it from false teaching (1 Timothy 4:1-16). God freely gave us His word, we must feel compelled to defend it at all costs.

These are three simple ways the apostle Paul gives us as to how we become a champion. All God wants us to do is remain faithful to Him, and we will becomes champions if we do so. The apostle Paul was a champion, and if we choose to “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12), than we too can say as he did, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord…will award to me” (2 Timothy 4:7-8), and we will become champions.